When someone at Hudson River Cruises Inc. in Kingston NY tells you to be on time, they mean it. Trust us, these tours sell out quickly.
We had a blast on our cruise with Hudson River Cruises Inc., and you will too.
Just be mindful of their reservation policy.
Avoid a possible headache (like the one we had!) by following the simple info and advice below:
a.) You must buy tickets in person at the booth (with groups under 10)
b.) The ticket booth only opens one hour before your cruise departs, so get there, and get in line as soon as the ticket booth opens!
Why I Chose Hudson River Cruises Inc.
I spent a few days researching different Hudson River Cruises and found many attractive options, but I was sold on one brand in particular: Hudson River Cruises Inc., located in Kingston NY.
I’ve seen their brochures in tourist info centers, they were featured in Hudson Valley Magazine’s “Best of 2010” edition, and they were all over the search results in Google.
When I called them up to reserve tickets for that weekend, the women on the phone explained that I couldn’t do that for only two people. She advised to get there as early as possible: one hour before departure, and buy tickets at the booth.
I felt a little uncomfortable driving up there without a ticket, but we decided to make a go of it anyway. On that Saturday we jumped in the Blue Goose (2003 Buick Century) and aimed for Kingston, NY.
Driving Up to Kingston NY
Since we live on Hudson’s eastern shore, we crossed over at Poughkeepsie’s Mid Hudson Bridge and took Rt. 9W north.
This funnels you into the city of Kingston on the little bridge over Rondout Creek.
Immediately we spotted our boat, the “Rip Van Winkle!”
And then drove right past it...
Guys Never Get Lost
Up a big hill, a couple of turns later, and we're on Broadway.
Streets named Broadway always make you feel like you’re going somewhere. So even though clearly the water was not in front of us, I kept
As the Rondout Creek disappeared further behind us, a straight line of Planet Wings, Burger Kings, Kennedy Fried Chickens, Laundromats, Hole in the Wall Chinese joints, and Rite Aids passed us by.
My wife asked if we should perhaps turn around.
Of course not, we’re just doing some sightseeing. It’s just up
ahead. The place where you can walk around and buy fresh produce from a
local farmers market, gaze at valuable items in storefront windows, and
sip latte’s with a book in a hip art deco Italian café.
Finding Comfort in Uptown Kingston
We made it! We found Albany Ave and then Clinton Ave, and then we were in Uptown Kingston… Historic brick houses, narrow streets with sidewalks, and white picket fences!
The plan we didn’t have was all coming together.
We’d visit Kingston’s wonderful Uptown Farmers Market on Wall Street, eat a quick lunch at Dominick’s Café, and then catch the 2:00 departure of the Rip Van Winkle from Rondout Landing. Perfect.
The merchants were wrapping things up at the Farmers Market by the time we got there, but we were able to buy some homemade chocolates, and see a street band faithfully play some Hank Williams tunes.
Lunch at Dominick’s was marvelous; authentic Italian meatballs , crispy bread, and good jukebox music inside.
Dominick’s really took us for a ride... One classic 50’s hit after the next, glass bottles of Boylan’s root beer, a tempting dessert display, and a sweet little girl helping to fill water glasses...
Racing Against the Clock
Holy crap! It was already nearing one thirty! We quickly paid our bill, and drove back down Broadway to Kingston’s waterfront neighborhood - Rondout.
When we parked under the bridge near the Maritime Museum, a women we’ll call “Beth” was crossing the parking lot and told us that there were no tickets. They were all sold out!
We approached the captain as he greeted a large group stepping off a tour bus.
“Yessir, No tickets left. Should’ve gotten here earlier.”
It was 1:40. Twenty minutes before departure.
We strolled the walkway along the water and contemplated what to do. There was a wedding party taking pictures, some men popping cans of Coors light on the decks of their parked boats, and more smiling ticket-holders still entering the Rip Van Winkle.
The women’s voice kept repeating in my head: “They sell out quickly… You can’t reserve a ticket…They sell ou…”
Down But Not Out
“Let’s just try again.” Ana, my ever-optimistic wife suggested. “If the boat didn’t fill up, maybe they could fit us on.”
When we returned we see “Beth” (the women from the parking lot who was also denied tickets) sitting starboard with her husband, smiling in big black sunglasses.
"Look! They got on!"
We marched back to the Hudson River Cruises Inc. ticket booth.
There was another couple in front of us... We listened closely.
“Yes, I know it’s first come first serve, but we drove up from New Jersey... We even came up last weekend and the same thing happened!”
Then, for whatever reason, the booth manager softened his expression and sold them the tickets!
Next, I approached the man and his expression hardened up again.
"Did you sell those two tickets?"
“Well, yes, but you see they came in from New Jersey last weekend and…” Me staring blankly... “And… I told them to come back.” Still staring...
"Well, we came up from Tarrytown, and we'd like two tickets, too!"
Ah, a good 'ole righteous duel! A stand off! A tumble-weed was going to blow by any minute...
Then the captain came up to the man and whispered something in his ear.
He turned back to us. “Alright. Two tickets? Forty six Dollars."
And with that little whisper, we boarded the Rip Van Winkle!
*For the record, I highly recommend Hudson River Cruises Inc. They put on a great tour. Again, just be mindful of their reservation policy.
Visit them at www.hudsonrivercruises.com or Call 1-800-843-7473. Address: 1 East Strand Street - Kingston NY 12401
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